Phish kept their linear progression forward into the future at the Blossom Music Center Saturday night. The rain held off and the sun even shined through for most of the pre-show partying. Vending was aplenty and security was non-existent--allowing the group of serious fans that seemed to be in attendance to have their way inside and outside of the show.
The beautiful venue is nestled deep in the woods, it's about a 15 minute walk from the parking lot. When inside, you get a feeling that nothing is around you--just the space ship looking wood shed and beautiful lawn in the middle of a forest.
Even though the sun was out, it remained pretty dark under the shed because of the huge and low overhang--this let Kuroda contribute to the show early on. The feel inside was more of a party than anything--very few wooks and very many receptive and serious fans. Phish knows when this is the situation-Trey came out and wished someone named Dan a happy birthday before opening with the first time cover of Look Out Cleavland by The Band. Next was a daytime Ocelot (only time I think it should be played)--Trey missed the powerful intro to the instrumental segment that we are used to, but overall the Ocelot was true to form and provided some nice textures for people to move to while it was still sunny and hot out.
The next song was actually a highlight for me while it was just a piss song to others--Water in the Sky, revisiting it's fast paced format Phish adopted back in summer 98 in Europe, was absolutely stunning. Trey weaved around the musical landscape with Page with complete beauty and ease. Following this came Stash--a solid version. Nothing too stand out in it, however Trey has some direction and seems to follow Mike's lead for a while and then mimics Page's ascending notes before bringing it back up into the ending. Trey doesn't wank around in it like he tends to sometimes when the version isn't that hot. This Stash is full of direction and Trey showcases his super clean tone of 2010 very nicely. Listen for Mike moving up and down his Modulus' neck, though.
What's next? Oh, Curtis Loew for the 2nd time since 1993? Awesome- executed perfectly and sung with compassion, this little number had the crowd drooling to see what Phish was going to treat them to next.
After an energetic and standard version of Sample came what everyone was fearing--everyone's face was just TTE'd. Grumbles are audible both there and on recordings. The people filed out to go to the bathroom and get some snacks. It was still pretty light out when this came on, you have to think Trey notices how no one cares to hear the song. It was executed really well, it's a shame they waste their energy for 18 minutes on it. Someone needs to hand out fliers before a show telling everyone to BOO or sit down when the song comes on next--a la yelling "HOOD" after Harry during the song or clapping during stash. We need to get their attention.
It was obvious that TTE wouldn't be the first set's closer, though because of how much time was left still. Mike's Groove closed the first set--as a lot of you know I have been very critical of 2009 Mike's Songs and Weekapaug Grooves. They often lacked creativity, passion and intensity--Blossom is when that all changed. This Mike's Song came right up from hell in an evil and fierce fashion. Page got so down and filthy for this, the whole crowd knew Phish got up to throw down tonight. By the time the song started nightfall was completely upon us, giving Kuroda free reign over the visuals. He perfectly accented the dirty ferociousness of the song with dark and intense lights. After Phish moved through the well played I am Hydrogen, the expected Weekapaug followed. 2009, and most of post hiatus Phish in general, seemed to forget that Weekapaug is supposed to start with heavy hitting bass slapping on top of drums--they didn't forget at Blossom. Mike took us back to the 90's with a real 'Paug intro, poppin' off with no regard for human life in the amphitheater. For the first time in years, Trey showed direction in this jam. His precise and crisp noodling over Mike's relentless grooving was like taking a refreshing shower. Fish started working his blocks with Mike really digging in and Page on his baby grand when Trey starts bringing his noodling to a faster pace. When Fish kicks it over to the ride, the whole band is on the path to come back up, and they do. Trey comes to a glorious and fast paced peak with Kuroda enhancing it with the rolling white lights before sinking back down into the song. And this is all only the first set.
A lot of people were talking about what they think the second set would open with. People assumed it would be something out of the ordinary--it was about as ordinary as people could have imagined though, reaching back into 2009's bag of ideas they opened with another version of Rock 'n Roll. It's a soulful and good version and Trey enters the jam very nicely, though. It's about a 12 min version before getting more ambient and popping into an oddly, but interesting, placement of Harry Hood. The intro to Hood was playful and fun, with Page going up and down on the keyboards and some fun rolls by Fish. Trey executed the heavy metal segment just fine, which is something I always pay attention to after some of their versions from last year. All of the 2009 Hoods were emotionless and a waste of time, in my opinion, but this one was very pretty. It starts out slow and real quiet and, while there is no real build up to the end, the end is beautiful with the band singing "you can feel good" Trey is using his guitar to punctuate through all the way until the end.
Backwards Down the Number Line was the second set showcase piece for me. It's now apparent that when this song starts you can't be sure if it will be a beautiful standard version like Red Rocks 09 or an improvisational spring board like Toyota Park 09. This night was the latter, when the band moved past when they could unawkwardly go back into the end of the song everyone knew they were in for something special. This Number Line is an evil monster--reaching back to the first set for inspiration from Mike's Song, this bad boy gets dirty and spooky fast. This is the new sound of Phish right here, and I don't mind it at all. It seemed like in 2009 they might have been confused as to what their new sound should be, but not this time around. Instead of using their age as an obstacle, they use their experience as an asset--knowing what sounds good with each other, Trey and Mike get low and scary while Page accents up and down the song with his keyboard. The band directed lights slowly fade, making the stage itself completely dark--Kuroda now has a blank canvass to paint with his lights--and he made a masterpiece. Mike starts doing some work from his dark place on stage by kicking in his effects and destroying the place with his now turned up bass. The only place to land this dark gemstone is into a song that has a naturally dark and heavy sound to it--Twenty Years Later. Phish just merged two new songs together in a way that showed everyone that their music is already evolving, after only 1 year of playing. I think the Blossom Backwards Down the Number Line->Twenty Years Later is going to be listened to again and again for years--a great night time road trip combo tune.
Going the extra mile to impress everyone in attendance, Phish bust into John Lennon's Instant Karma! The crowd obviously just lost it--Page was having a blast belting out the lyrics, and Fish had a blast with the drums. Unlike Look Out Cleavland, I think this cover has some staying power with Phish--let's hope so. Without missing a note, Trey goes right into a version of The Oh Kee Pa Ceremony that would have impressed fans in 1993. His tone and execution was awesome in this tightly wound composed ditty. The Suzie naturally following it is high energy and the jam showcases Page peaking on his baby grand--nothing crazy, but certainly a blast.
The show closes with a beautiful version of Waste and another Character Zero with Trey's murky rock he seemed to adopt for the song in 2009. Squirming Coil was the encore and left Page on stage by himself to thank the audience for coming out at the end of the show.
This show is refreshing in so many ways. Phish is being playful again with the covers they choose to play, they are playing classics like Oh Kee Pa before Suzie, they are playing old school bust outs like Curtis Loew, Mike's Song finally got it's groove back, and Phish showed they can still take us on a psychedelic odyssey--with new songs.
Phish is back, people--and nothing could make me happier.
As far as I'm concerned this is the best BDTNL Phish has yet to play. Yes, better than the Jones Beach version played later in August. I am also now a big fan of 20 years later after first hearing it im Philly 11/24/09. The Look Out Cleveland to open was appropriate as stirm clouds were looming over the lot all day although it didn't rain until leaving the show. This was my son's first show. He was 1. Braggin rights when he is older.
Set 1 Highlights = Look Out, Cutis Loew, TTE
A "Classic" Mike's Groove Closer will never hurt ya...
( All we are saying... Is give TTE a chance )
Set II is very interesting to say the least...
An early Hood, The debut of Instant Karma, Topped off with an Oh Kee Pa Ceremony makes set II extra tasty...
Character Zero returns to its faithful role as a set II closer...
We're 2 for 2 on the encores... Phish can sometimes drop the ball when it comes to encore selection. We shall see...
Thanks to Raging Mob of Joggers for an excellent review.
You really captured the experience of this past Saturday.
As a head who has not gone to a show in long while, I found my reencounter with Phish on Saturday quite enjoyable. It seems that when most people on this site evaluate shows they have an ideal image of Phish in mind. Extra funky. Or balls to the wall rock out. Or crazy experimental. Or wweetly sung and every note played exactly as it should. Having been out of the game for a while, I came with really no expectation and I suggest that to anyone who goes to a show this summer.
Trey is really playing nicely these days. Things were incredibly mellow on Sat, which allowed he to slow down and play some sweet unexpected note. The Harry Hood of the early second set was filled with such surprises as was the Stash of the first set. I think Tray's best playing---which I would describe as a new type of playing, a method more sober and mature than the mid 90's heydays---came on late in Waste. All those years listening to old country western records are paying off, Trey. Keep it up.
The other surprise of the evening was the BDNL > 20 years. Wasn't really familiar with either track prior to the show, but incredible things happening in the segue. The guys were patiently listening to one another ---- out in the lawn few people seemed to notice ----everyone seemed a little strung out from Chicago, who had actually been at that show ---- but great things were happening on stage.
What Phish did on Saturday is much more a kin to Jazz than anything I have heard previously. I only hope we as fans can change with the band.
It's true that this show was a bit of a letdown after the previous night in Chicago. This was a relaxed affair overall (and even the crowd seemed quite a bit more relaxed than they were in Chicago). Set 1 took a long time to wind up, and the band didn't really start to cook until Mikes (I definitely enjoyed TTE, however). The lengthy BDtNL jam didn't go anywhere for quite a while, until the boys finally found a sweet spot. Everyone was surprised by Instant Karma! It almost sounded like they were going to try to jam it out, but they just kind of gave up. It will be interesting to see if they play this song again, and where it goes. Oh Kee Pa was great, and Suzy was a lot of fun as well.
This was more or less an average Phish show at a great venue. We didn't make it to the next night, but it sure looks like they kicked ass!
This was a great show so don't get upset tho when I say it was a let down from the night before. Toyota was a jam-bient explosion, Blossom was not. Look out cleveland was alright, ocelot was okay too water in the sky made sense cause it looked like it was gona pour. Lighting was nice, kinda like deer creek 09 but not as intense. Stash was good, ballet was nice, sample was meh, ttl was pretty good actually, mikes groove was fun. Overall 1st set was pleasent but not the caliber of chicago's 1st set. 2nd set was much better! Rock n roll (Esp near the end of the song) all the way to Suzy is a blast. Backwards In particular turned into something fiesty! Waste and zero are fine and so is coil but it's not what I care for in an encore. But I understand that the intesity from the night before was not around and the energy was more subdued. It was a good show overall but I can't honestly say it was better than Toyota park cause it wasn't. It's a fine show. I had a good time. The place is beautiful! I'm saying listen to the show cause it was good but know that the boys expended alot of energy the night before and they were prob a bit worn out. At least I felt that way. Anyways don't beat me up for my review I was just being honest. Show gets a solid B grade.
Coming up to my first ever visit to blossom(btw great venue hope they play ther again) i was expecting great things. i listened to the 6/11/10 chicago on the way there and was fairly impressed and was expecting better. it probably wasnt song wise but had many highlights as well. The look out cleveland opener was cool and the stash was pretty desent. i got sample which follows me like a fly on dung and then the mikes groove to close the set wasnt as good as other versions ive heard (7/30/09 and 11/18/09 are some of my favorites).
Set two opened with rock and roll which segued into a sick hood with tons of energy and then there was the highlight.BDTNL was amazing with its great pace that sequed into 20 years later.after that it was pretty standard nothing new except john lennons instant karma
This was an ok show, a solid 5.5/10 but we have all heard better.
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